Jack Ma loses his title as China’s richest man after he angered Beijing and his empire came under intense scrutiny
- Alibaba and Ant Group founder Jack Ma had held the spot for China’s richest in the Huran Global Rich List in 2020 and 2019
- But he angered Beijing after he criticised the country’s regulatory system
- It led to his empire being scrutinised by Chinese regulators on ‘anti-trust issues’
Alibaba and Ant Group founder Jack Ma has lost his title as China’s richest man, a list published today showed, after he angered Beijing and his empire was put under heavy scrutiny by Chinese regulators.
Ma and his family had held the top spot for China’s richest in the Hurun Global Rich List in 2020 and 2019.
But now they trail in fourth place behind bottled water maker Nongfu Spring’s Zhong Shanshan, Tencent Holding’s Pony Ma and e-commerce upstart Pinduoduo’s Collin Huang, the latest list showed.
His fall out of the top three comes ‘after China’s regulators reined in Ant Group and Alibaba on anti-trust issues,’ the Hurun report said.
Ma’s recent woes were triggered by an October 24 speech in which he blasted China’s regulatory system, leading to the suspension of his Ant Group’s $37 billion IPO just days before the fintech giant’s public listing.
Alibaba and Ant Group founder Jack Ma has lost his title as China’s richest man, a list published today showed, after he angered Beijing and his empire was put under heavy scrutiny by Chinese regulators
The clampdown on ecommerce giant Alibaba saw the one-time darling of China’s entrepreneurs fall down the pecking order
Regulators have since tightened anti-trust scrutiny on the country’s tech sector, with ecommerce giant Alibaba taking much of the heat; the market regulator launched an official anti-trust probe into Alibaba in December.
The clampdown on the company saw the one-time darling of China’s entrepreneurs fall down the pecking order.
Chinese regulators also began to tighten their grip on the fintech sector and have asked Ant to fold some of its businesses into a financial holding company to be regulated like traditional financial firms.
Ma, who is not known for shying away from the limelight, then disappeared from the public eye for about three months, triggering frenzied speculation about his whereabouts. He re-emerged in January with a 50-second video appearance.
Chinese regulators also began to tighten their grip on the fintech sector and have asked Ant to fold some of its businesses into a financial holding company to be regulated like traditional financial firms
The news comes after it emerged that China created more than 200 billionaires last year as a booming stock market and a slew of new companies offset the damage caused by the Covid pandemic.
The Hurun Global Rich List showed that 259 Chinese broke into the billion-dollar club in 2020, more than the rest of the world combined and taking the country to a total of 1,058 billionaires – the first to break the 1,000 mark.
By comparison, the US created just 70 new billionaires last year bringing its overall total to 696.
China – the country where Covid first emerged and which has been accused of covering up its early spread, leading to the pandemic – has seen its economy boom while the rest of the world’s finances have been hammered by the disease.
The news comes after it emerged that China created more than 200 billionaires last year as a booming stock market and a slew of new companies offset the damage caused by the Covid pandemic. Pictured: Chinese President Xi Jinping
The country was the only major world economy to grow at all last year, with GDP up by 2.3 per cent. The US shrank 3.7 per cent, Germany was down 5 per cent, and the UK by 11 per cent.
That growth helped create new billionaires, with Zhong Shanshan of bottled water giant Nongfu now leading the pack – becoming China’s richest man after overtaking Jack Ma.
Shanshan is worth an estimated $85billion after his drinks brand – which sells tea, coffee and juices as well as red-labeled bottles of water – went public.
Zhong, a former construction worker, made his cash following a $1.1 billion initial public offering in Hong Kong last year.
China created 259 billionaires in 2020, more than the rest of the world combined and led by Zhong Shanshan (left) who topped the rich-list with a wealth of $85billion. Colin Huang (right) was one of just three billionaires to add more than $50billion to their wealth in 2020
China, the country where Covid first emerged, was the only major world economy to record growth last year while others were hammered trying to deal with the pandemic
Meanwhile, Pinduoduo’s Huang’s fortune grew 283% to 450 billion yuan, the list said. In comparison, the wealth of Ma and his family grew 22%, to 360 billion yuan.
Zhang Yiming, founder of TikTok owner ByteDance, broke into the top five rankings among Chinese billionaires in Hurun’s Global Rich List for the first time, with an estimated personal wealth of $54 billion.
Three individuals globally added more than $50 billion in a single year, the survey found: Tesla’s Elon Musk, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Colin Huang of Pinduoduo, one of China’s fastest-growing ecommerce players.
Huang is now worth an estimated $60billion, putting him seventh on China’s rich-list and 57th globally.
Economists now think that China’s economy will out-grow the US by 2028, thanks in part to the pandemic which ‘tipped the scales in its favor’ (pictured, tables comparing the size of the US and Chinese economies through the years, top and bottom)
Overall, China continues to lead the world’s wealth creation, Hurun’s report said, adding 490 new billionaires in the past five years compared with the 160 added in the US.
Hurun Report chairman Rupert Hoogewerf said that even with the pandemic chaos, the past year saw the biggest wealth increase of the past decade due to new listings and booming stock markets.
‘Asia has, for the first time in perhaps hundreds of years, more billionaires than the rest of the world combined,’ he added.
The report also flagged a shift in Hong Kong, pointing out that the city’s entrepreneurs are now being ‘dwarfed’ by their counterparts in the mainland – only three Hong Kong tycoons make it into the China top 50.
Six of the world’s top 10 cities with the highest concentration of billionaires are now in China, with Beijing top of the heap for the sixth year running.
Economists now believe that China will overtake America to become the world’s largest economy by 2028.
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